Adorable Galapagos turtles and cute Komodo dragons babies, Riverbanks Zoo’s newest exhibits

We finally got to see the baby Galapagos tortoises that came with a big bang last fall. They are adorable…tiny and clumsy on their little feet, is hard to believe they will grow to weigh almost a ton! The hatchlings are on display inside the Aquarium, and as a bonus, next to them is a pair of Komodo Dragons juveniles that were born at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Galapagos baby tortoises, a welcome addition to the reptiles exhibit

Biggest surprise of the century! 100 years old Galapagos turtles giving birth at Riverbanks Zoo.

Here are the proudest parents at the zoo: mom, Alberta, came to the United States in 1951 as an adult and dad, Abrazzo, arrived in 1928, also as an adult. Riverbanks Zoo acquired the pair in 1995. Both are believed to be over 100 years old…love is truly timeless.

Alberta and Abrazzo

The happy couple

While at the zoo be a dare devil and try your acrobatic skills at Sky-High Safari, a 44-foot high vertical ropes challenge ($7 per climb, $5 for members).

Riverbanks Zoo Enrichment Day: wild fun, special treats, free activities and funny moments

On September 25th the Riverbanks Zoo celebrated its animals and visitors with special treats, surprises and fun activities for kids. The event was free with zoo admission ($11.75 adults, $10.75 seniors and military, and $9.25 children 3-12). Here are the highlights:

Fun stuff for kids
Feed Little Boy, the zoo’s only American alligator. Visitors who bid and won this “behind the scene” adventure got to participate in the alligator training session. They were literally feet away from the crocodilian monster!

Children get up close to Little Boy

A real special treatment...getting to feed Little Boy, the Riverbanks Zoo alligator

Kids made their own craft using pasta shells, string and construction paper and also got a free tattoo.

Make your own pasta craft

Fun free activities for kids at Riverbanks Zoo

Kids got to learn more about animals at the zoo, touch a bear skull and claw, cayman teeth and leathery skin, etc.

Hands on learning at Riverbanks Zoo special Enrichment Day

These are some very big teeth!

Animal treats
The grizzly bears seemed the most pleased with their watermelon and molasses covered boxes.

I have a sweet tooth...

The grizzly bears love their sweet treats on Riverbanks Zoo Enrichment Day

Chalka, the silverback gorilla, was intrigued by his colorful snack tube filled with goodies.

Chalka is happy with his new edible toy

Hmmmm, what can it be?

This youngster giraffe couldn’t pull away from the tree. Most likely the zoo staff covered the bark with a delicious treat, as he kept licking and licking it…

Funny baby giraffe playing at the zoo

Peek-a-boo! Giraffe playing hide and seek at the zoo

The lion got a little frustrated trying to open his present filled with tantalizing smelling meat. Eventually he hauled in the cave to “finish” it off in private.

Lions enjoy new toys special treats at Riverbanks Zoo

Reveal yourself to me says the Lion King

Although we missed the elephant feeding session we still got to see the ladies giving themselves a nice mud spa treatment.

Riverbanks Zoo Enrichment Day

As you get older you need to take good care of your skin...

Big and small, feathers and fur all animals got a special treat on Enrichment Day. This exotic bird enjoyed a fresh juicy orange.

Exotic bird enjoys new fruit at Riverbanks Zoo

I love oranges!

The male baboon will take no chances! He claimed this treat as his very own.

Claiming the colorful prize Riverbanks Zoo Enrichment Day

This treat is mine!

While at the zoo take the free trolley to the Botanical Gardens filled with hundreds of flowers, ornamental plants, trees, spices and funky art. There is a special children’s garden and a nice shaded playground.

Mark your calendar for the Boo at the Zoo, a Riverbanks Zoo & Garden Halloween Spooktacular! October 14-16 and 21-30, 6-9PM. Tickets are $6 members ($8 regular admission).

Monkeying around the Greenville Zoo, the kids wild fun things to do

The baby is so cute! The most interesting exhibit at the Greenville Zoo featured the Angola Colobus Monkeys.

Adanna was born in January 2011, a third successful pregnancy for mother Lami and father Valentino. At birth, a baby Colobus monkey is completely white. It will start changing color after one month.

Greenville Zoo newest monkey addition

What is that?

Colobus monkeys are the most arboreal of all African monkeys, spending their entire life in trees. Although their hands are thumbless they are extremely good climbers, known to jump from branch to branch, sometimes leaping up to 50 feet in the air!

Mother Colobus Monkey with her two youngsters

Time out guys!

Avid eaters, the Colobus monkey will consume fruits, seeds and seeds throughout the day. Their super sized stomach can hold up to a third of their body weight!

Baby Adanna sharing a private moment with her mom

Snack time!

The Greenville Zoo is open daily 10AM to 5PM. Admission is $7.75 adults, $4.50 children 3-15 and free for children under 3 (Riverbanks Zoo members get in for half price).

It’s a Zoo! Come see Brookgreen Gardens’ native wildlife and rare farm breeds

Brookgreen Gardens is most famous for its exquisite collection of American sculptures and lavish gardens. They are also great preservation stewards of native wildlife and rare farm animal breeds. Here foxes, alligators, deer, wild turkeys, river otters and many wading birds live in a natural habitat. At the farm you can enjoy seeing (and sometimes pet) unusual types of horses, cows, sheep and fowls. The breeds were brought to South Carolina from Europe and Africa as early as 1500s!

Highligts from the Lowcountry Zoo and farm (data from the exhibits)
Foxy ladies! The gray fox is the only native fox in North America. The red fox was brought here by Europeans in the 1700s to continue their royal fox hunt tradition. Did you know?

Wild native foxes at Brookgreen Gardens Zoo

The gray fox is the only fox that can climb trees


• Gray foxes can climb trees, which is a great advantage when trying to escape predators such as the coyotes.

• Gray foxes are often mistaken as red foxes. However they are smaller, mostly gray and have a black tip tail. Red foxes are bright red-orange and have a white tip tail.

• Gray foxes are omnivores.

• Red foxes mate for life.

You can always count on the river otters to put a smile on your face. They are playful, funny, cute and may even pose for you! What else can you ask for?

Funny aquatic mammals Brookgreen Gardens

Playful otters are very fun to watch at Brookgreen Gardens

Marsh Tacky horses, Red Devon cows, Tunis sheep and Guinea fowls
Marsh tacky were brought to America by Spanish settlers in the 1500s. They are closely related to the Bankers ponies of the North Carolina Outer Banks and the Cracker horses in Florida.

Marsh tacky Outer Banks ponies Cracker Florida horses

Marsh Tacky horses used by Marion Francis troops in the American Revolution


Marsh tacky horses have narrow shoulders, a sloped rump, a striped down back and a mellow disposition.

Being short and steady on their feet, and with large heart and stamina, they can maneuver swamp terrain without panicking or getting stuck in the mud.

That’s why the “Swamp Fox” General chose them for his soldiers during the Revolutionary War. The Gullah also used them to plow fields and carry heavy loads. Today they are fewer than 250 pure Marsh Tacky horses.

The first Red Devons arrived in America in 1623. The sturdy and docile cattle were used on plantation as food for their meat and milk, and as oxen to plow fields and haul wagons. Both male and female grow horns.

Rare cow breed Brookgreen Gardens animals

The Red Devon, one of the rarest cow breeds in North America

Tunis sheep were brought here from Africa in 1799. They produce very good meat and remarkable long wool. The lambs are reddish at birth and turn white as they grow. Tunis sheep are very tolerant to heat.

Rare breed of sheep at Brookgreen Gardens

African Tunis Sheep brought to America in 1799

The Guinea fowl originated in sub Saharan Africa. They were kept on plantation for meat. As wild birds they were allowed to roam freely and roost over night in trees to escape predators. They forage well for themselves and are tolerant to heat.

There are more fun kids things to do inside the Lowcountry Center and the Children’s Discovery room (free with garden admission).

Brookgreen Gardens admission is $12 adults, $10 seniors and $6 children 4-12 ($1 off coupon in most travel brochures). Tickets are valid for 7 consecutive days. Call (843) 235-6000 for more info. Open daily 9:30AM to 5PM.

Hello Columbia! Most adorable baby baboon is playing at Riverbanks Zoo

“I want to hug her!” my daughter kept yelling. That’s when you know you found cute. C’mon look at these big ears, little pink rump pads and round sparkling eyes!

Yara, the baby baboon is the new Hamadryas star at Riverbanks Zoo, which hasn’t had one for over 25 years.

Riverbanks zoo most adorable animal babies

She is cute as a button!

While mom Imi and dad Makale enjoy a relaxing grooming session, baby Yara busies herself chasing and chewing on a pine cone. It’s so good to see them at peace together, last time Imi had a baby it didn’t turned out well…

Amazing monkey photos

Happy family moments at Riverbanks Zoo

Here, delight yourself with some Yara cuteness…

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden admission is:
• Adults $11.75
• Children (3-12) $9.25 (under 3 get in FREE)
• Military and seniors $10.75
• Combo pass $28.75 (per person) includes zoo admission and unlimited rides

See more Riverbanks Zoo babies pictures.

Amazing frogs! Discovery Place Charlotte where natural science is always fun

The Fantastic Frogs exhibit at Discovery Place science museum in Charlotte features exotic live frogs from all over the world with striking survival capabilities. Here you can immerse in the wild, colorful world of amphibians and see how frogs use disgusing techinques to attract mates, deceive predators and survive.

Fantastic frogs hands on video presentation Discovery Place

Playing the frog lifecycle game


There are several interactive stations kids can play at, scientific videos and of course plenty of frogs. Free with museum admission ($12 adults, $10 seniors, $9 children (2-12))

The Marine Cane, Bufo Marinus, can survive almost anywhere in the southern hemisphere.

The Cane Toad

The toad that conquered most of Australia


Also known as the Cane Toad, it was brought from Hawaii to Australia in a failed attempt to control sugar cane beetle population.

With no natural enemies the toad has flourished and destroyed much of the habitat it was meant to protect.

It is now considered one of the world’s worst invasive species.

The Pacman Frog, Ceratrophys Ornata, can puff up to considerable size and has a large mouth (half as big as the body) with sharp teeth lining the bottowm jaw which deliver a powerful killler bite.

Frog with one of the largest mouths

Dont mess with the Pacman Frog!

The Mighty Poison Dart Frogs
• The Dying Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates Tinctorious, according to legend was used by Amerindians from Guyana and Amazon to change the green color of a young parrot’s feathers by plucking the desired area bald and then rubbing with the living frog. When new feathers grew in they will be magically dyed bright yellow and red.

• The Blue Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates Azureus,

Dendrobates azureus most territorial of dart frogs specie

The most fierce dart frogs females will defend territory and mating rights to their death

is considered one of the most territorial frogs, with females fiercely defending against other trespassing females.

During the breeding season, a victorious females wins the mating rights with the male of choice.

Two weeks after laying her eggs she must transfer them to separate pools as the growing tadpoles are cannibalistic.

• The Black-Legged Poison Dart Frog, Phyllobates Bicolor, is one of the three frog species whose toxin was used to poison the spears of Columbian Choco Indians hunters.

• The Green and Black Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates Auratus, possesses a natural compound called epibatidine that has powerful pain-killing properties. It is 200 times stronger than morphine and is non-addictive.

Full of epibatidine to produce efective pain medicine

It packs a pain killing toxin that is 200 times stornger than morphine

• The Golden Poison Dart Frog, Phyllobates Terribilis, is the world’s most poisonous frog, 4 times as toxic as the Blue Poison Dart Frog and 40 times more toxic than the Black-Legged Poison Dart Frog.

More incredible frog trivia:
• The Hairy Toad, Trichobatrachus Robustus, has bony protrusions that shoot out from the toe pads like claws to scare away predators; it’s not yet clear if they can also retract.

• Frog freeze! The Wood Frog turns its flesh from flexible to frozen during winter. The “popsicle” frog remains in a frigid state until the temperature rises, when it thaws back to life.

• The gliding-ator, Polypedates Dennysi, takes a leap of faith through the rainforest canopy to escape predators and to find mates.

• The tomato frog produces a sticky slime that is 25 times stronger than cement.

Visit Discovery Place to enjoy and learn about world’s most interesting creatures.

New at Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia wild fun thing to do!

I haven’t been to Riverbanks since the “Lights Before Christmas” event. Last Saturday my daughter and I braved the crowds and the heat to see what’s new at the zoo.

Newest exhibit: Kangaroo Walkabout
Although is hard to replace the feisty sea lions (remember Big Boy?) the kangaroos and wallabies held their own on the fun factor. Kids love to get close (really close!) to the strange looking creatures. The are two staff guides that monitor the animals and are happy to answer questions.

Red Necked Wallabies – Wallabies are the smaller cousins of the kangaroos.

Columbia Zoo newest exhibit

Happy to sit next to young wallabies

The red-necked wallaby is the largest of all the wallabies.

Like kangaroos, wallabies get around by hopping and raise young in a pouch in the female’s belly. They spend the dawn and dusk hours eating grasses and other plants, and rest during broad daylight.

Red-Necked Wallabies have been killed for their fur and because they eat same grass as sheep.

Red Kangaroos – Males are called “boomers”, females “flyers” and the young are called “joeys”. Kangaroos can live up to 20 years of age.

Handsome young male Columbia Zoo

Is fun watching the kangaroos only feet away

In the wild, males live lot less than females (5-10 years vs. 10-15 years) due to constant fighting with other males and their mostly solitary life.

An adult male red kangaroo can weigh 200 pounds and grow to be 5 feet tall, truly remarkable considering at birth he is as big as a jelly bean!

Kangaroos are mostly nocturnal. During the day they cope with the heat by licking their wrists.

They can hop over 6 feet tall fences, leap over 25 feet and reach speeds of 30 mph! When threatened, kangaroos stomp the ground with their hind legs and thump with their tales. They can deliver a powerful kick if necessary!

The Gorilla exhibit is still a family favorite. There is renewed interest after the short yet exciting escapade last year and the sad departure of Kimya, the youngest male, this year.

Silverback gorilla survivor Columbia zoo

The one gorilla who did not get away...


2010 Price and Food Updates:

Admission is now $11.75 adults, $9.25 children (under 3 get in FREE), $10.75 military and seniors. There is a new $28.75 (per person) Combo Pass that includes admission and unlimited rides.

Really cute meerkat Riverbanks Zoo

The Meerkat Manor of Columbia!


There are 2 new “Explorer” membership options, $99 individual and $149 family, which provide unlimited rides and attractions on top of the usual benefits.

See all the details here.

You can get a $20 Day Pass for unlimited rides and feedings. The price for each individual attraction has not changed ($5 pony ride, $2 train ride, $2 3D Theater, $1 carousel, and $1 giraffe and lorikeet feeding).

Best place to eat is still the Kenya cafe, which is open year around and offers indoor A/C seating. All grill meals include french fries and cost around $4. Choose from burgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, chicken and BBQ sandwiches. There are grab-and-go salads, deli sandwiches, yogurt, fruits and more.

Stay wild, be cool at the Riverbanks Zoo!